LGBT rights in New Hampshire
|LGBT rights in New Hampshire|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1975|
|Gender identity/expression||Transsexual persons may receive new birth certificate after sex reassignment surgery|
|Same sex marriage since 2010.|
|Adoption||Yes since 1999.|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of New Hampshire only recently acquired the same legal rights as non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in New Hampshire, and the state began offering same-sex couples the option of forming a civil union on January 1, 2008. Civil unions offered most of the same protections as marriages with respect to state law, but not the federal benefits of marriage. Same-sex marriage in New Hampshire has been legally allowed since January 1, 2010, and one year later New Hampshire's civil unions expired and were converted to marriages.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Legislation against sodomy was repealed in June 1975 along with other reforms. The age of consent in New Hampshire is set at 16, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. The age of consent is 18 for relationships in which one party is under the care, guardianship or authority of the other. A 2003 New Hampshire Supreme Court decision found that adultery could not take place between two females. It is unclear whether this decision will remain valid now that New Hampshire recognizes same-sex marriages.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Same-sex marriage in New Hampshire has been legally allowed since January 1, 2010. Civil unions expired and all civil unions were converted to marriage on January 1, 2011.
Civil unions were only available to same-sex couples in New Hampshire. On April 4, 2007, the NH House passed a civil unions bill HB437 with a vote of 243 to 129 which, if the bill were made law, would imbue partners in same-sex civil unions with the same "rights, responsibilities and obligations" as heterosexual couples in marriages. On April 26, 2007, the NH State Senate approved the civil unions bill 14-10 along political party lines.
NH Governor John Lynch, who at the time opposed same-sex marriage but indicated that he was receptive to discussing civil unions as a means of granting certain rights to same-sex couples, signed the bill into law on May 31, 2007, making New Hampshire "...the first state to embrace same-sex unions without a court order or the threat of one." The law has been in effect since January 1, 2008.
As of mid-May 2008, over 300 same-sex couples have formed a New Hampshire civil union.
Since January 1, 2010, New Hampshire has allowed same-sex couples to marry. The law sets age minimums for participants in same-sex marriages that are different from those for opposite-sex marriage:
No male below the age of 14 years and no female below the age of 13 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage that is entered into by one male and one female, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void. No male below the age of 18 and no female below the age of 18 shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage between persons of the same gender, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void.
Adoption and family planning
New Hampshire law allows a person, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, to adopt. A law banning adoptions by gay parents was repealed in 1999, and opened the door for single gay persons to adopt.
A 1987 state Supreme Court ruling by Justice David Souter stated that adoption laws are designed to give children one home "that is unified and stable." Judicial interpretations of this ruling and state laws initially varied from county to county with some judges requiring adopting couples to be married. This resulted in inconsistency in the ability of same-sex couples, who could not legally marry, to adopt together. However, once same-sex relationships obtained legal recognition in the state, all of New Hampshire's ten counties began allowing adoption by same-sex couples on the same terms as for opposite-sex couples.
New Hampshire law allows any woman to undergo donor insemination. The spouse of a pregnant woman is generally presumed to be the parent of her child. As a result, a child born to married lesbian parents will receive a birth certificate listing both women as the legal parents. State law permits surrogacy arrangements for same-sex couples intending to become parents and allows for the use of donated eggs in conjunction with surrogacy. Same-sex couples intending to become parents can receive a pre-birth order (PBO) directing that both their names be entered on the child's birth certificate when first issued.
There are no state laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. In 2009, House Bill 415 to add "gender identity" to the statute's categories passed the House on April 9 by a vote of 188-187, but was defeated in the Senate on April 29 by a vote of 24-0.
On March 13, 2014, the New Hampshire Senate unanimously approved a constitutional amendment that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It needs approval by 3/5 of the House of Representatives and by 2/3 of voters in the November 2014 elections for it to take effect. New Hampshire would be the first state with its Constitution banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Hate crimes laws
- William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201n, available online, accessed April 9, 2011
- "Title LXII of the NH Criminal Code: Chapter 632-A:3, Sexual Assault and Related Offenses". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Title LXII of the NH Criminal Code: Chapter 632-A:2, Sexual Assault and Related Offenses". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Blanchflower v. Blanchflower.
- Moskowitz, Eric. (5 April 2007) N.H. House passes civil unions Concord Monitor. Accessed 11 April 2007.
- Wang, Beverley. (26 April 2007) State Senate approves civil unions for same-sex couples Concord Monitor. Accessed 26 April 2007.
- Liebowitz, Sarah. (5 March 2007) Gay unions could gain support Concord Monitor. Accessed 11 April 2007.
- AP. (31 May 2007) Lynch signs bill legalizing civil unions. Concord Monitor. Accessed 31 May 2007.
- AP. (16 May 2008) NH gay rights advocates react to CA legalizing gay marriage New Hampshire Union Leader. Accessed 16 May 2008.
- "Same-sex marriage becomes law in NH". Unionleader.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.[dead link]
- "HB 436-FN-LOCAL – FINAL VERSION". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "HB 90". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Associated Press. (10 April 2006) Gay adoption policies vary by county in N.H The Boston Globe. Accessed 24 April 2007.
- Title XII: Chapter 168-B: Surrogacy NH RSA.
- Catherine Tucker, FAQs About Surrogacy in New Hampshire, Accessed August 2, 2014.
- "HB 421". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Published: June 08, 1997 (1997-06-08). "New Hampshire Chief Signs Gay Rights Bill". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "HRC". HRC. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Human Rights Campaign Praises New Hampshire Vote on Gender Identity Protections". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
- Caulfield, Christine (April 29, 2009). "NH Senate Rejects Transgender Rights Bill". Law360. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- "N.H. Senate supports amending constitution to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation". Concord Monitor. March 14, 2014.
- "CACR17". New Hampshire General Court.
- "HB 1299 - Bill Text". Gencourt.state.nh.us. 1991-01-01. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Docket of HB1299". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Human Rights Campaign. New Hampshire State Laws Human Rights Campaign. Accessed 24 April 2007.
- New Hampshire State Statute RSA 5-C:87. Accessed 14 December 2008.
- New Hampshire State Laws regarding LGBT rights by Human Rights Campaign
- State drops fight over benefits for same-sex couples in Concord Monitor on 8 May 2007.
- Why NH Birth Certificates for Same-Sex Couples Are Not Good Enough June 8, 2014.